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1932 auburn 12-160a boattail speedster

£1,800,000 - £2,400,000

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1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster Chassis no. 12-160A 1991 E Engine no. BB 1216 391ci Lycoming Side-Valve V-12 Engine Single Updraft Carburetor 160bhp at 3,500rpm 3-Speed Manual Transmission with Dual-Ratio Rear Axle Front and Rear Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring Suspension 4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes *Among the most original and correct example known to exist *Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance class and award winner *Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club Certified Category 1 *Meticulous, national award-winning full restoration by Steve Babinsky THE AUBURN TWELVE BOATTAIL SPEEDSTER The Auburn Twelve was produced for only two seasons, 1932 and 1933, with unsold cars retitled and sold into the 1934 model year. In that brief moment – barely a blink in automotive history – it cemented itself as one of the great multi-cylinder cars of the Classic Era, offering outstanding engineering, performance, and style. The latter was never more abundant than in the "boattail" speedster model, styled by the young and skilled Alan Leamy with a flowing two-passenger body that gracefully tapered to the rear, accentuated by subtle two-tone moldings. Few automobiles so much embodied the speed of which they were capable: the Twelve speedster looked fast, and it most definitely was, as anyone who has ever spent time behind the wheel can happily attest. With its long hood and graceful lines, the Auburn Twelve speedster became a performance icon of its era, beloved by true enthusiasts – most notably, the Collier brothers, who famously raced their "Beelzebub" in Automobile Racing Club of America events, forerunners of today's SCCA. In modern times, the same remains true of the speedster; the great enthusiast Dr. Fred Simeone wrote of this chassis: "The Auburn 12 offered more than a powerful engine. It had a high cruising speed with a Dual Ratio rear end which, upon command from a dash mounted lever, would offer either a 4.5 or 3.0 ratio for each of the transmission's three gears." Indeed, Dr. Simeone noted that a twelve-cylinder speedster set a speed record at Indianapolis of 115 mph, an average speed that was actually higher than that of the winning car in the 1932 Indy 500. Today these cars are still joys to drive on tours, ACD Club events, and CARavans; they have even participated with some distinction in the Colorado Grand. To the knowledgeable collector, however, acquiring an Auburn Twelve speedster is not easy. It is estimated that only 65 original twelve-cylinder speedsters were produced in three trim lines, unsurprising given the effect of the Depression on the sales of such flamboyant automobiles. Because of the tremendous rarity and desirability of the twelve-cylinder speedster, this model was among the first to be replicated by enthusiasts. Accordingly while many twelve-cylinder Auburn speedsters exist, only a handful are authentic original examples. That handful of survivors– including just twelve of an estimated thirty-one 12-160A models produced – are fiercely prized and seldom ever become available for sale, with most remaining in long-term ownership. As such, they can justifiably be held as among the most seldom-traded and difficult to acquire American Full Classic, and scarce is the opportunity for one to be acquired privately much less publicly. THE MOTORCAR OFFERED The authenticity of this particular 12-160A Boattail Speedster, one of the twelve verified authentic cars, is beyond question, with an unusually fortunate, lengthy provenance with enthusiasts extending back over the last six decades. Its history has been traced by historians back to 1957, when it was owned by Earl Grey of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Grey held on to the Auburn until 1962, at which point he sold the car to Frank Cek, another Ohio Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club member, who is highly respected as a specialist in the twelve-cylinder Auburns. Mr. Cek owned the Speedster for nearly four decades and, importantly, largely preserved it in its original and intact condition. In 2000 the car was inspected at Mr. Cek's home by Paul Bryant, chairman of the ACD Club's Certification program. After careful recording and verification of its numbers, the Speedster was issued Category 1 Certification. This document, a copy of which is on file, notes that the car retained, as it does today, even the original serial number and engine number plates, its original frame stamping, and the original body number stamping in the woodwork. Few surviving examples of its kind have "ticked all the boxes" so thoroughly, undoubtedly due to the preservation efforts of the car's owners. Mr. Bryant summed up his report with unusually enthusiastic hand-written notes, recognizing the quality of what he beheld: "A rare authentic speedster...All Nos. match...This is the most original unrestored 12-cyl. Speedster I have ever seen – a benchmark for originality & authenticity!" Soon after this inspection the car was acquired from Mr. Cek by another well-known figure in the Auburn Twelve world, Ron Monte of New Jersey, with whom it remained until its acquisition by the current owner in 2015. Soon thereafter the new owner decided that such an outstanding Speedster deserved a restoration of equal quality, and submitted the car to Steve Babinsky's Automotive Restorations of Lebanon, New Jersey. Automotive Restorations is highly respected, having produced numerous national award-winning examples of various Classic marques, including Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and is widely regarded for both the mechanical and cosmetic quality of their work. A full restoration was undertaken, with no component left untouched and the goal of returning every nut and bolt to authentic, original condition. In a recent conversation, Mr. Babinsky noted that he was pleased to find that the car's reputation as a straight, solid and remarkably complete original example – shown in photographs taken on-delivery – had not been exaggerated. Every piece of original sheet metal and inner woodwork was preserved and reused, including even the fenders and sills; the original body number stampings remain in place. Every drivetrain component was correctly and properly rebuilt. Indeed, great effort was taken to ensure that the car would not only be capable of winning major awards, but that it would also run and drive strongly – important to the owner, who thrills at actually using and enjoying his automobiles. It has been well-maintained to that same standard since; even the Columbia Dual-Ratio rear axle functions as was originally intended, and the owner notes that he has indeed driven the car at 90 mph, "as I felt everybody should do that at least once!" At the completion of the restoration, the car debuted at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it received a class award in the always hotly-contested American Classic Open class, and received the Briggs Cunningham Trophy, recognizing it as the Most Elegant Open Car. It also received the Roy Faulkner Trophy for Best Auburn and the Harold Ames Trophy for Best of Show at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club's 2016 National Reunion; scored at a perfect 100 points at the Classic Car Club of America's Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada, in early 2017; and achieved a Junior First Prize and the National Auburn Cord Duesenberg Trophy in Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) competition. Everywhere it has gone, it has been an award-winner. Few of the surviving twelve-cylinder Boattail Speedster have accumulated such a wealth of important honors – with, it should be noted, many more such opportunities remaining open for a new owner, including further judging occasions with the AACA and CCCA, and many other significant concours in both the United States and abroad. It would also, of course, be warmly welcomed back to Auburn and other ACD Club events, where its quality, excellence and provenance are widely recognized. The opportunity to acquire a genuine twelve-cylinder Auburn Boattail Speedster happens once a generation, and few meet the exceptional standards of authenticity, purity, and quality set by this national award-winning, ACD Club Certified Category 1 example. It is deserving of the most outstanding and selective collector, as the finest of its kind available – a truly superb car.